Some common problems we see across organizations are:
1) Not knowing which projects to work
2) Not enough resources to work projects and sustaining work
3) Not enough funding to work the projects leadership has requested
Sound familiar? Most likely, your organization doesn't have a mature Project Portfolio Management process in place. Many organizations hire some Project Managers, maybe even a Manager or Director to run a PMO (Project Management Office), but the required processes are missing. A failed or missing Project Portfolio Management process is a major contributor to the death of the PMO.
Projects are Strategic Investments. Someone in your organization has made a decision to spend money, time, and resources to complete a project with an expectation that the investment will provide a return of some kind to benefit the organization. However, those decisions should be vetted against some criteria to make sure NOW is the right time for that specific project.
For example, An Executive has decided to update the company website with new artwork, logo, product pages, commence engine, etc. Does the organization have the in-house skills to complete the work? Are those resources already occupied on other initiatives? If there aren't internal skills, is there funding to pay for external resources? Does the organization have a busy season which shouldn't be interrupted with a website update? There are many questions which should be considered before beginning a project.
Why was that project chosen? Why does it need to be completed at this time? What benefit will the organization gain from successful completion of the project? Do you even know how to measure if the project is successful? If you don't have the answers to all these questions, and more, then you aren't investing wisely with your project choices. We recently contributed to an in-depth look at Portfolio Management which can be found here.
Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is a process in which an organization evaluates key characteristics to make decisions related to Risks, Resources, Finances, and Demand. It is the collective assessment of these characteristics which allow organizations to make smart investment choices. The goal is to be working the RIGHT projects at the RIGHT time!